Interview

Interview

Sienna Guillory on Returning as Jill Valentine in 'Resident Evil: Retribution'

If Alice was ever to retire, surely Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) would make a worthy successor. She's tough, beautiful, smart, and knows how to kick some zombie, and human, butt! Except…wait a minute! Why is Jill working for the Umbrella Corporation and targeting Alice? On the snowy Toronto set of Resident Evil: Retribution, where she has apparently aligned herself with Bad Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), the strange device attached to Jill's chest may hold the answers. Behind the scenes, Guillory addresses the situation and fills me in on Jill's strange behavior.

Well, obviously, you've got more shooting days on this one (Retribution ), since your part in the last one was such a secret. How many days were you on set for the last one?

Oh, nearly a whole afternoon (laughs). It was fun though. It was one of those where you arrive on set, all your friends are there, you've got a great outfit and everything is brilliantly lit and it's day one of filming. Everyone's got these great new toys and then you finish filming 30 minutes later (laughs). You're like, "Where's the rest of the movie?" and they're like, "Oh, you're not in it." Oh yeah, this is the end.

Could you talk more about what we've been watching over and over again in the scene that you're doing?

A: Oh, I don't know what you've been watching. We all live in an Umbrella Submarine and we've got a great gang living there. There's me, Michelle Rodriguez, who is brilliant, Li Bingbing, who is very pretty, like scarily pretty. You could touch noses and she's flawless. She's quite terrifyingly beautiful.

You looked very serious, staring very icy forward, then staring to the side and then looking back…

That's a hard day's work [laughs].

Can you talk about that.

Looking icy ahead and then, staring to the side. And then running and falling flat on my face. That was my favorite bit today. This is probably the moment I've been the most excited about, and most terrified about, since I heard we were going to do this and I was going to be involved. I just had twins this year, in February, and I would say there is no greater motivator than knowing you're going to be squaring off against Milla Jovovich in a cat-suit seven months after giving birth to twins. So this is us, squaring off opposite each other, which is quite daunting because she's quite amazing and I've got to be as good, if not better.

We heard the fights are more complex in this one. How much more physical do you get?

It's massive! This fight sequence was originally over 200 moves, which is longer than a fight sequence in The Bourne Identity. It was immense. It was brilliant. I've been doing it every day since we got here and I'm very happily whittling away. It's a very beautiful fight and it's all sort of….Again, you are trying to find things that have never been done, with weapons that haven't been done already and using aerial moves. It is quite poetic.

The opening move is one of Jill Valentine's melee moves where she throws herself up in the air and spins around, lands and kicks the guns away, then flips and then it goes into a beautiful fight. Then it evolves into a really brutal, nasty bare-fist fight, which is kind of great.

It's like a three-act fight all on its own.

Yeah, it's been massively chopped and squished, so that we can get everything else in, which I think makes sense. I was really looking forward to it being massive and epic, but I'm hoping it's still going to be really good.

Tell us where Jill has been since Apocalypse, because she seems to have undergone a transformation of sorts.

Well, in the game, she's been captured by Wesker, and he's put the boob-ament/spider/scarab on which controls her. For someone who's completely inept at these things, I'm not very good at video games, so you can watch all the movie life bits on YouTube and they are really filmic. She really breathes and you can feel her, who she is and what her story is. There are these moments where they finally de-scarab her and she says, "You know, I was aware of everything I was doing, but I couldn't do anything to stop it." So this kind of an indication that she's in this inner turmoil, which I think is great and quite interesting. I'm hoping we get places to play that.

But here we are where Jill is under Umbrella control and she's the commander and a baddie.

Bigger than Wesker or just below?

I think he's a tiny bit taller than me. [Laughs.] I don't know.

Can you talk more about the weapons and the guns?

I have guns called Scorpions. They are brilliant unless you wave them around too wildly, then it flicks out and becomes a bit unwieldy. They're brilliant. The fully automatic thing on them has virtually no kick-back, so you can really move with them and you know, the thing that flips out, you can wedge it on your shoulder. My experience with guns goes up to as far as "Am I going to shoot that? Am I aiming at it properly?" But I did a lot of gun stuff at school and loved it, and I love that generally, women are better shooters than men. If you talk to the armory guys, they'll agree.

At the end of Afterlife, you give a pretty direct order in terms of killing everyone on the boat.  Does that happen? Because if it did, then there wouldn't be a movie.

I think you just answered your own question there.

Well, I'm just curious.

A: Well, you know. Plans go awry and movies happen. If everything happened the way you wanted it to, there wouldn't be stories and movies. Things become difficult, we have to overcome things and try a bit harder sometimes [laughs]. It was only up until two days ago that I was supposed to have guns. And when we're doing the wire work, everyone was like, "Be careful catching the guns" and I was like, "Well, wouldn't I just shoot…" Now we don't have guns, which is good. But there was this really cool moment where Li Bingbing, who plays Ada Wong, and she's of course done loads of martial arts and she's really physical and amazing. She has this scene where she whips out a gun and pretty much mows everyone down.  And on take one, she's just there. She doesn't blink, she doesn't move and then bam, bam, bam, bam, bam! Gun's down by her waist and I was like, "Okay, everybody up their game. Come on." Then she goes "Was that okay? I haven't shot a gun before."

When you work with the guns and stuff, when you're squeezing the trigger, for me, I sort of think of it emotionally and what I'm doing to somebody. I imagine it as an emotional kick, so I tend to breathe out anyway, which stops you from blinking and makes you look less uncool. 

But when you're next to a load of people…..I have a "man-tourage." I have a whole group of brilliant stormtroopers that come with me everywhere, that are the Umbrella troopers, and at times they bring out their guns. I'm trying really hard not to flinch and try and be cool, which is what it's all about [laughs].

Paul has said that he's come up with the idea for the sixth film. Have you talked to him, or has he mentioned to you, the possibility of being in the final installment, the sixth one, assuming he gets to make it?

I'm hoping so. I'm enormously proud to be…I really feel like Milla is making history here. Is there any other franchise where there's a female action heroine who has managed to make five installments of a story? That's massive. That's history. And it's really cool to be part of that.  So I'm hoping that it goes on. I think it's a good thing to continue a trend of women being equally violent and terrifying as men, if not more so.

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